A US company has developed a pollution-free polymer electrolyte fuel cell that uses hydrogen and air to produce electric power. The company has successfully powered a bicycle using the new battery

Lead is dead, say hydrogen-powered biking boffins

Manhattan Scientifics, Inc. has completed initial testing of the Hydrocycle, a fuel cell powered bicycle. The prototype uses Manhattan Scientifics’ proprietary power technology developed by the company’s NovArs unit in Passau, Germany.

"Our fuel cell powered bicycle offers a strong value proposition when compared to today’s battery powered bicycles, said Jack Harrod, Manhattan Scientifics’ chief operating officer.

The Hydrocycle is also wonderfully quiet and gives off no

emissions other than a small amount of water vapour. In the noisy, polluted cities of Asia and elsewhere in the world, we believe the Hydrocycle could make an enormous difference in the quality of

life of the people in those cities. We have opened discussions with industry

leaders in the powered bicycle and scooter segments about possible


The cylindrical-shaped fuel cell stack, which powers the Hydrocycle,

weighs 780 grams, and delivers 670 watts of power to a hub motor. The

hydrogen fuel is contained in a two-litre carbon fibre reinforced pressure

vessel located behind the bicycle seat. This provides the cyclist with a

driving range of up to 70-100 km (flat surface) at a top speed of 30 km/h.

In production, the fuel tank could be integrated into the frame of the

bicycle, says a press release from Manhattan Scientifics and claims to be far superior to existing battery technologies:

In comparison to conventional battery systems, the complete HYDROCYCLE(TM) fuel cell system has about seven times more energy density than lead acid batteries (30 w/kg) and more than three times the energy density of NiMeH batteries (60 w/kg).

Dr. Arthur Koschany, founder and chief scientist of NovArs, said: "We

decided to build the bicycle to demonstrate the key features of our

technology — the lightest weight, most compact stack for a given power.

Manhattan Scientifics’ CEO Marvin Maslow said: "The Japan Cycle Press

estimates there will be 1 billion electric bikes on the roads by the year

2020 — mostly in Asia with smaller niche markets in Europe and the United

States. In Asian countries such as India, massive amounts of goods are

transported every day by scooters driven by heavily polluting two-cycle

engines. These societies are literally choking on gas and diesel fumes.

Electric powered bikes and scooters could provide significant improvements for their environments and consequently their economies. In his book Bike Cult, author David Perry notes that in China, India and Japan alone there are currently 405 million bicycles in use. He says that in Tianjin, China an estimated 77% of daily trips are made by bicycle. In Shenyang, China that number is 65% and in Beijing 48%. This clearly suggests the potential for a low cost, environmentally clean, fuel cell powered bicycle."

Manhattan Scientifics’ research headquarters are located in Los

Alamos, New Mexico. Executive offices are in New York City.


Manhattan Scientifics CEO Marvin Maslow tel: 00 1 212 752-0505.

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